THE NAME of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, is now included in the oldest and most important prayers of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Pope Francis approved last June 20 a decree adding the name of St. Joseph in Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV of the Roman Missal, the Church’s liturgical book. This was proposed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS), the Vatican dicastery in-charge of the Church’s liturgy.

Eucharistic Prayer II reads as follows: "Have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse, with the blessed Apostle and all the saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may merit to be coheirs to eternal life, and may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ."

In Eucharistic Prayer III: "May he make us an eternal offering to you, so that we may obtain an inheritance with your elect, especially with the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse, with your blessed Apostles and glorious Martyrs (Saint of the day or Patron Saint) and with all the Saints, on whose constant intercession in your presence we rely for unfailing help."

In Eucharistic Prayer IV: "To all of us, your children, grant, O Merciful Father, that we may enter into a heavenly inheritance with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, her Spouse, and with your Apostles and Saints in your kingdom. There, with the whole of creation, freed from the corruption of sin and death, may we glorify you, through Christ our Lord, through whom you bestow on the world all that is good."

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The Eucharistic Prayer is directed to God and is the central prayer of the Holy Mass, during which bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

According to the CDWDS, the decree to add Joseph in the Eucharistic Prayers was first proposed during the Second Vatican Council. In 1962, Blessed Pope John XXIII introduced the reference to the Roman Canon, the only such prayer before the overhaul of the Roman Missal in 1970. It is now known as Eucharistic Prayer I.

In response to worldwide petitions, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI considered its implementation. His successor, Pope Francis, approved it.

“[St.Joseph] has been the subject of assiduous devotion on the part of the people of God throughout the centuries, as support of that mystical body, which is the church,” the decree stated.

The decree also stated that the faithful in the Catholic Church had shown continuous devotion to St. Joseph and had solemnly honored St. Joseph’s memory as the most chaste spouse of the Mother of God and as the heavenly Patron of the Universal Church.

Translation to local language

The prayer in reference to St. Joseph will also take effect in the country. However, translating the five-word addition to vernacular languages will still undergo a process.

“As regards the Latin text, these formulas are hereby declared typical. [Other] language translations are to be prepared by [the] Bishops’ Conference, according to the norm of law,” the decree said.

In the country, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will head the translation process. Then the Holy See will confirm it through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

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“Fatherly care” for Catholics

The approval of the prayer for St. Joseph is a reminder of Pope Francis’ inauguration last March 19, according to Fr. Antonio Bermejo, STD, chaplain of the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Pope Francis celebrated his inaugural mass on the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

Bermejo, also an assistant professor in Liturgy and Sacraments, said the Pope’s homily was rich in reflections that would help the faithful grow in Christian life as they run to the intercession of St. Joseph.

“Through this initiative of Pope Francis, all of us [Christians] will deepen our personal friendship with God and [we] will be exercising that obedience of faith to the Magisterium of the Church,” he said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

St. Joseph is an example of how to walk the Christian life, he added.

“This is particularly important in this Year of Faith because it shows us the path of how we can deepen our personal dealing with the Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he said.

Fr. Dave Clay, assistant executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, echoed the timeliness of this modification.

“I believe the addition is timely. St. Joseph belonged to Jesus and Mary for about 30 years. They belong together as a family more than ever especially when the family is being attacked,” Clay said.

The life of Joseph with the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ is a model of “fatherly care” to the Church.

“He is a craftsman in Nazareth. With his work, he had to support Mother Mary and Jesus,” Bermejo said. “Since Joseph took care of Jesus with fatherly care, the Church is also doing the same thing with its people.”

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St. Joseph stands as an authoritative witness and a loving intercessor for Jesus Christ, he added.

“Through these virtues, this just man cared most lovingly for the Mother of God and happily dedicated himself to the upbringing of Jesus Christ,” Bermejo said. Angeli Mae S. Cantillana

1 COMMENT

  1. A substantial, clear and well structured article. It reflected faithfully what the interviewed source person said.
    Very helpful to every Christian who wants to know why St. Joseph is mentioned in the central prayer of the Holy Mass, which is the Eucharistic Prayer.
    More power to you for such a good work!

    In Christ,
    Fr. Bermejo

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